Livingstone pulls out of BBC debate over BNP invite

20th April, 2012 2:37 pm

Ken Livingstone has pulled out of an upcoming BBC Mayoral debate over the presence on the panel of the BNP.
Livingstone also dismissed the BNP candidate urging his supporters to give Livingstone their second preferences, saying it was “clearly designed to disorganise progressive opinion and divide opposition to them”.

Speaking this afternoon, Livingstone said:

“I have long held to the belief in no platform for the far right. The far right want to destroy our democracy and stand for the elimination of our basic rights. They cannot be treated as a legitimate part of politics.

“I am withdrawing from Monday’s Mayoral debate on BBC London 94.9 on the grounds that I am not prepared to share a platform with the British National Party.

‘We have been in negotiation about a debate with the main candidates for BBC London 94.9 – but only now have we been informed that the BNP had been invited to take part in this debate, and this has been confirmed to us

“I will not share a platform with the BNP and it is a point of principle to me that I never will do.

“That the BNP candidate may have called for a second preference for me is clearly designed to disorganise progressive opinion and divide opposition to them. Not only don’t I want their second preference but I will not share a platform with them. I urge everyone to use their vote on 3 May to
vote to keep the BNP out.”


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  • Good.

    • treborc1


  • Just what exactly is “right wing” about all those socialists in the socialist BNP?

    As a Libertarian I find the whole left/right pantomime highly amusing… although one way or another having YOUR opinions and desires violently forced upon my life kinda stops me laughing out loud.

      Hearing a Socialist Authoritarian like Ken warn that others “stand for the elimination of our basic rights”  gave me a sick tickle.

    You people have no idea. 

    • treborc1

       Sick tickle bit weird how do you get a sick tickle, I bet your wearing I love Boris underwear

      • Boris is also a socialist Authoritarian. He advocates force and fraud against my life, liberty and property the same as all the others. 

         No matter who you ever vote for the State wins.

        • treborc1

           That I will not argue with, as I said we have three parties now all  going down the same route, all fighting for the beloved squeezed middle, Miliband or is that Miniband is no different then Cameron or Clegg

        • trotters1957

          Your using terms that you have read in the Mail and Telegraph but don’t know or understand what they mean.
          You’ll probably start using the term Cultural Marxist.

          Read more and think deeper, come back in five years when you have grown up.

  • UKSue

    Just what is Ken scared of, that he might hear the truth???  The man is a joke and I would rather see Boris as Mayor than him !!!

    • treborc1

      or of course the BNP one eyed wonder.

  • Duncan

    Good for Ken

  • GuyM

    If a party is deemed legal and allowed to have candidates in elections then it is not up to Ken Livingstone to attempt to deny others the right to hear differing opinions.

    This strikes me as an extension of the “no platform” activities of certain left wing anti facsist groups that do more harm than good.

    Griffen’s appearance on Question Time for instance did him no favours at all and repugnant dieologies should be questioned in the public spot light not made martyrs in this way. Though the BNP mayoral candidate came across as much more “reasonable” on the Daily Politics.

    Of course it means Ken can get a bit of publicity and avoid having any more difficult questions about personal tax; anti-semitism; pro islamic fundamentalist; dodgy promises etc.

    Ken is past it, seemingly a little deranged and left wing nut now backed by George Galloway…. which in itself ought to be enough to consign him to oblivion.

    • JoeDM

       Absolutely right.

      The BNP need to be allowed the rope to hang themselves.   Once people see that they are just old Labour with added racism they soon turn away.

      • AlanGiles

        “The BNP need to be allowed the rope to hang themselves. Once people see that they are just old Labour with added racism they soon turn away”

        A comment as bloody insulting as it is vapid and untrue.

        If – by “Old Labour” you mean the Labour party of Atlee, Gaitskill, Wilson and Callaghan, you obviously do not realise that whereas – for one example – the BNP would like to see capital punishment restored, it was OUR (Harold Wilson) government that put an end to it in 1965. 

        The BNP are really more for curmudgenly old Tories for whom the “newer” Tory values are’nt tough enough.

        • JoeDM

          Go to the BNP website and look at their economic and social policies – pure old Labour.    They even want a return to nationalised industries !!!!

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          There is a total correlation between previously Labour wards and the BNP’s very few electoral successes.  The BNP don’t win anything off any other party apart from Labour.  Even when they don’t win, those wards and constituencies where they increase their share of the vote are Labour.

          If you do not believe me, spend some time checking out the figures for yourself.

          It is completely ridiculous to suggest that the BNP get their votes from any other party apart from Labour.  Face the facts.

          If you do not like to face the fact that the typical BNP voter is white, working class and quite happy to be anonymously racist in the polling station, more fool you.

          • ovaljason

            Channel 4 research into the make up of BNP voters:

            “…but perhaps the most startling finding came when we tested anecdotal reports that many BNP voters were old Labour sympathisers who felt that the party no longer speaks up for them. It turns out to be true. As many as 59 per cent of BNP voters think that Labour “used to care about the concerns of people like me but doesn’t nowadays ” compares with 17% for Tories.


          • AlanGiles

            It is certainly the case that in the Borough of Barking & Dagenham, inroads were made by the BNP prior to the last set of council elections, and in Havering one ward had two BNP councillors for a short time.

            I wasn’t denying this, what I was saying was that it is wrong to suggest – as Joe appeared to do – that every “old Labour” (which is now used as a term of abuse just as much as “Blairite” or “New Labour” supporters feel those terms do to them) supporter is a closet racist.

            I make no apologies whatsoever for preferring traditional Labour values to the “Tory Lite” values of New Labour, and I can assure you I have no sympathies in this regard. Interestingly, one of the most vociferous of the anti-BNP posters here frequently denigrates “Islam”, giving the impression they all hold the same views, which of course, if you are implying they are “all”  would-be terrorists is, in itself, and by itself, xenophobic, intolerant and – dare I say it? – views held by the BNP themselves.

          • AlanGiles

            Obviously the typical BNP voter is white, working class, but there are also white working class Conservative voters, and people who don’t usually vote at all who will vote for the BNP, but Joe seemed to be blanketing the whole of “Old Labour” with this rather unpleasant blanket. Nothing would make me support the BNP, but again remember you have the red top tabloids (especially the Star and Sun) who constantly give off xenophobic vibes to their readers – also the Express who will “suggest” that immigrants are just here to use the NHS or “get benefits”, and they are cock-a-hoop when an MP (usually Conservative, but Mad Frankie Field isn’t above this) makes remarks about “foreigners taking our jobs”.

            I think you will find that the majority who want capital punishment don’t come from the left wing of the Labour party.

          • Bill Lockhart

            Livingstone “dreams” about the day he wakes up to hear that Saudi royal family are swinging from lamp-posts, and talks about “hanging a banker a week”. He also throws his arms round people who believe adultery and homosexuality are capital offences. He’s on the left wing of the Labour party, isn’t he?

    • “it is not up to Ken Livingstone to attempt to deny others the right to hear a differing opinion”


      At no point does Ken attempt to deny others the chance to hear a differing opinion. He has withdrawn from an opportunity share his own views  because he does not wish to share a platform with a representative from a party who would, as Ken puts it,  “destroy our democracy and stand for the elimination of our basic rights.”

      It’s as simple as that.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Ken is quite keen on Hugo Chavez and various middle eastern clerics who are themselves quite happy to suppress democracy, as well as some rather more fundamental things such as the right to life and personal freedoms.

        Looking at the partial accounts he published, he quite likes their money too.

        • Are you saying Ken supports the suppression of democracy?

          If so you need to serve up the evidence.

          • Jaime doesn’t do ‘evidence’ – just right wing sloganising

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I note you don’t ever really post an opinion Mike, just miserabilist whining and pronunciations on who should and should not be in your Labour Party.  A very select group it would appear, and with no possibility of ever being elected, but then you’d quite like that, as it would be “pure”.

          • Waste of time until the Tories are removed from this site

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            There are a couple of self-declared tories on the site, GuyM and Holly, but they both happily admit so and argue the point (well, sometimes Guy manages to go too far).  Holly makes me laugh with her honesty (“lying tory troll”) and wacky comments about feeding cats. Who else do you have in mind?

            What is the definition of “tory”, by the way?  Does it depend on how someone votes, membership of the Conservative party, or whether someone is not hard left like you are?  You seem to favour the latter.

            I will give you this for free.  My wife is a tory, in that she votes for them and supports them with money but is not a member.  She’s a free woman, can do what she likes.  We had both tory and Lib Dem posters in our windows in May 2010.

          • GuyM

            Of course I sometimes go in some people’s opinion “too far”.

            Socialists are the enemy and an enemy who peddle in lies, theft and deceits

            No quarter should be offered or given.

          • Is that the Diamond White talking?

            I’ve noticed your posts become increasingly deranged as the evening progresses.

          • GuyM

            I rarely drink anything Dave (and certainly nothing tonight), never smoked, never taken drugs, don’t gamble.

            Best find some reason other than a vice for why I don’t like socialists.

            And I’ll happily repeat it word for word in the morning if you’d like.

          • aracataca

            More and more people are beginning to see that you are an idiot.

          • GuyM

            Indeed, best you hang out with apologists for fundamentalist islamics, marxist dictators and other stars of the left….

          • aracataca

            I agree Mike but keep plugging away. Otherwise the kind of drivel put about by Jaime goes unchallenged which in itself gives it a credibility.

          • aracataca

            Funniest point was when he called you ‘miserabilist’.  This is where idiotic views cross the border into absolute and verifiable jibberish.

          • Its obvious he is only here to cause trouble – he has no sympathy with the left in any sense at all

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You are trying to put words into my mouth.  What I said, quite clearly, is that Ken is quite keen on Hugo Chavez and various middle eastern clerics who themselves have track records in suppressing democracy and some other fundamental freedoms.

            If you want proof of that, 

            Ken and Chavez are close:


            Chavez is a brutal dictator – 2 contrasting views:


            Chavez tortures:


            Ken is close to Iran:


            Amnesty International has serious doubts about Iran:


            There is no point at all in trying to deny that Ken is close to those regimes, or that he took their money in great quantities.

            I will go further.  He has acted as a mouthpiece in the UK for these regimes, and there is evidence all over the internet and video sites like Youtube to show that.

            He is not the sort of person who should be London’s Mayor.

          • Just attempting a clarification with a straightforward question.

            Glad to see that you’re not pretending Ken supports the suppression of democracy.

          • Bill Lockhart

            Livingstone’s idea of democracy is to organise a party coup, organised in advance and in secret by the hard Left, the day after an election in order to install himself as leader- see the history of the GLC for details. His idea of “democratic” is much like the “Democratic” in “German Democratic Republic”.

          • Hugh

            But he’s more than adequately shown that Ken’s principled stand to have no truck with those whose aims are to destroy democracy and eliminate basic rights is, er, poppycock.

        •  Hugo Chavez suppresses democracy? This is Hugo Chavez who has won a record string of landslides deemed fair by international observers, despite facing an armed coup backed by his main opposition, right?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            The man who first tried to come to power via a coup?

            A man who for 25 years has run a secretive private army who specialise in making political opponents “disappear”?  A man who caused the technical disqualification of the majority of parliamentary candidates standing against his own party?  Who strong-armed a new “Constitutional Assembly” into position, and then on a minority turn out with strong evidence of ballot stuffing changed the constitution to the benefit of himself and his own party?  A man whose own political henchmen have turned against him for his autocracy?

            Only one election (in 2006) was judged to be free and fair.  The previous ones were not judged at all.

            16,000 people have been exiled from Venezuela, mostly to central American states.  Many had been imprisoned and some tortured.

            Amnesty International has extensive records on human rights abuse in Venezuela.  The United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Episcopal Conference of Venezuela, Human Rights Watch, the Law Society of England and Wales, the US Department of State, and the EU have all described a “climate of fear”.

            6,300 police officers between 2000 and 2007 have been investigated for human rights abuses , 17 have been convicted.  The death rate from police action and arrests in the same period rose to over 1500 a year from a very low level.

            This is Ken’s friend.

          • jonathanmorse

             Obviously if you did all these things to trade unionists and other socialists you’d be a hero.

          • GuyM

            The fact you’d defend Chavez and all his antics says more than enough about you.

      • GuyM

        Not that I want to defend the BNP, but can you show how they would “destroy our democracy”?

        • You find all the information you need via intelligent use of any search engine.

          You may remember that Johnson, along with others, left the podium before the BNP’s Barnbrook made his acceptance speech following London assembly elections. Clearly, for mainstream politicians, the BNP are beyond the pale.

          • GuyM

            Beyond the pale and wishing to prevent a legal party from campaigning fully are two different things.

            Iran has this nasty habit of banning certain candidates for not being pure enough. Russia does similar things if a candidate isn’t Putin’s mate. Chavez practices the same art. Is that what you’d prefer?

            The BBC thankfully is bound by strict rules governing the right for a voice for all legal parties, not decided by politicians.

            If you are committed to free and fair elections then I can’t see how you can support attempts to block candidates of legal parties engaging in debate, which fundamentally undermines democratic equality for those who may vote for them (however misguided we might all think those voters are).

            Ken is dodging debate for narrow political purposes and is undermining democracy in the process.

            In addition he once again shows himself to be one of the biggest hypocrits out for complaining about extremist views when he has history of giving platforms to terrorists (IRA), islamic fundamentalists and marxist dictators among others.

          • treborc1

             seems Boris agrees with Ken and has refused to  go onto the stage with the BNP

          • GuyM

            If so, he is wrong as well.

          • treborc1

             or of course god forgive your wrong.


          “[The BNP is] a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up
          its slogan ‘Defend Rights for Whites’ with well-directed boots and fists. When
          the crunch comes power is the product of force and will, not of rational
          debate.” – Nick Griffin 

          • treborc1

            A fist against the vote, so far the vote is winning

      • treborc1

         Boris has pulled out as well now saying he would not take the stage4 with the BNP. Does that make Boris Old labour

        • Fair play to Jenny Jones, Brian Paddick and Boris on this.

          Opposition to the BNP is clearly a litmus test of democratic credibility. However, there’s some on this blog who wouldn’t recognise a principle if they bumped into it on the most brilliantly sunlit day of the year.

    • “Griffen’s appearance on Question Time for instance did him no favours at all and repugnant dieologies should be questioned in the public spot light not made martyrs in this way”

      I’ve gone back and forth on what I think of “no platform” umpteen times, but one thing that tends to influence me to support Ken’s stance here is that this approach has been proven wrong time and time again. You must be misremembering if you thought QT in 2009 did Griffin no favours, because the BNP had a poll bounce (20% saying they’d at least consider voting BNP, up from high single digits before the appearance) and 2,000 new members joined the BNP in a matter of days. I accept this doesn’t close the argument down for people about denying them a platform, given the democratic implications, but this and other instances of the same sort of the thing (Le Pen had a similar bounce in France after going on mainstream TV there) does prove empirically that the “it’s giving them the oxygen of publicity” assumption beats the “sunshine is the best disinfectant” view.

  • KonradBaxter

    No platform is a failure and a path of failure.

    Better to have them exposed for what they are via Newsnight et al rather than the public only ever seeing a highly polished message delivered at the right time with no questions possible.

    • That didn’t work on Question Time in 2009, though. “Scrutiny” looked like everybody ganging up on Griffin, and earned them sympathy, and giving them publicity tends to give them a poll bounce. I’m not always 100% sure about no platform, but “sunshine is the best disinfectant” is a catagorical failure.

      • Bill Lockhart

         Is it? How many BNP MPs are there?

  • OPLucas

    And yet he will share a platform with extremists with links to terrorists?

    Seriously, I hate the BNP as much as you do Ken; they’re an odious bunch. But you cannot deny that on several occasions the BNP have been democratically elected ( fortunately not very often). The best way to defeat them is on the platform, in a debate. Otherwise they will just play the victim card.

    • treborc1

       They play that card anyway, I do think people should destroy them  on TV it’s amusing to see the public have a go at them, sadly when ever this group on TV they seem to get the backers in as well

  • Bill Lockhart

    Interesting. Especially considering that Livingstone has physically and politically embraced a man who says:

    ” Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would
    punish them for their corruption…The last punishment was carried out by Adolf Hitler.
    By means of all the things he did to them – even though they
    exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them…Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.”

    What was that about not sharing a platform with the far right?

  • ovaljason

    Yet he welcomes to London an extremist who believes homosexuals like me should be executed.

    • treborc1

      I thought for a long time the sick and the disabled  were going to go the same way, but they are happy to just allows  us to commit suicide.

      Seems politicians have problem with the words consenting adults.

  • Diverman01

    If you do not debate with the BNP, what do you do if they win! The only way to show what and who the BNP are is to confront them, not say ‘ I not talking to them and put your fingers in your ears.’

    Remember the BNP won two European seats in the northwest and northeast, people felt disenfranchised by the big party politicians, what happened there and also in Bradford could happen in London with second preference votes.

  • Hugh

    The Holocaust
    BNP: denies it
    Yusuf al-Qaradaw: “exaggerated” – punishment from God to “put them in their place”

    BNP: tolerance of homosexuality in private but “should not be encouraged”; would ban civil partnerships.
    Yusuf al-Qaradaw: homosexuals should be executed.

    Women’s issues
    BNP: not much of note
    Yusuf al-Qaradaw: Wife beating – “only lightly” as a last resort.

    Crime and Punishment
    The BNP: will reintroduce capital punishment for drug dealers, child murderers, multiple murderers, murderers of policemen on duty and terrorists where guilt is proven beyond all doubt.
    Yusuf al-Qaradaw: would introduce capital punishment for Salman Rushdie, homosexuals and apostates who “swagger” about their conversion

    disorganised progressive opinion indeed.

    • Diverman01

      Not much difference then between both sides, but if you look under the skin of both extremes they are the same underneath, in effect if you look at a horseshoe in the terms of politics both sides nearly meet in terms of ideology.

      • Hugh

        Yes, and in some respects Livingstone is entirely consistent: He won’t debate with either of them. He won’t share a platform with the BNP, and when al-Qaradaw speaks he just nods along.

      • ovaljason

        If by “not much difference” you mean Yusuf al-Qaradawi is massively more right-wing than the BNP then I’d agree.

        I think we can all agree that there is a slight difference between “tolerating” homosexuals and executing them.

        • “The TV footage of dozens of gay demonstrators flaunting their perversions in
          front of the world’s journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find
          these creatures so repulsive.” -Nick Griffin, in response to the murder of three people in the bombing of a gay pub in 1999 by a far-right activist

      • JoeDM

        Its good to be reminded of the circle of poitics  with liberal democracy being the opposite of totalitarianism and the ability to travel from the one to the other by the left or the right.

    • ovaljason

      Can you imagine if Boris Johnson invited Gert Wilders to London to propagate his views?

      Honestly how would the tribal Left respond to that? Ken’s invitation to Yusuf al-Qaradawi is entirely comparable (worse even since he demands execution not repatriation of those he hates).

      Those working on Ken4London have a lot of explaining to do to gay, life-long Labour voters like me.

      • AlanGiles

        I wouldn’t mind betting had Livingstone appeared on this radio programme with the BNP candidate that immediately afterwards the usual suspects would have been out in force on LL saying he was being “hypocritical” for sharing a platform with them.

        He is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t in some people eyes.

        • GuyM

          I think you’ll find most critics of this regard “no platform” to be odious no matter what.

          All the other candidates will be there and hopefully giving the BNP chap a hard time.

          Ken will be hiding with his newts.

  • ovaljason

    This story encapsulates how utterly toxic Ken is.  I challenge any of his supporters to attempt to justify this grotesque position to life-long Labour voters like me.

    Extremist number 1:  BNP – supports the forced repatriation of ethnic minorities.

    Ken’s response: Refuses to share a platform and be in the same room.

    Extremist number 2: Yusuf al-Qaradawi – supports the execution of homosexuals (and other barbaric acts)

    Ken’s response: Extends official invitation to visit and propagate his views.

    This is why record numbers of Labour voters are refusing to support Ken.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    That’s a very clever way of saying “my advisors have told me to stay out of the public debates because my own failures and inconsistencies reveal me to be a doddering old fool with nasty personal prejudices that are equal to those of the BNP”.

    No doubt someone cleverer than Ken put the words in his mouth.

    • Nonsense. Its standard practice not to share a platform with the BNP

      • Diverman01

        So Mike, are you afraid to debate, put forward your views and allow the ‘people’ to make a choice, something both wings in politics would rather have as a state of ‘normality’ in that they have no choice.

        In a democracy, the people have a right to hear what is on offer from their politicians for the future, if you cannot or will not oppose those views you are doing the most important people, the electorate, a diservice.

        All parties where I live have a non participation policy, so you may find that this slowly but surely gives rise to more extremist forms of politics the future

      • GuyM

        Standard for whom exactly?

        Oh I forgot, “standard” for the equally vile Anti-Facist groups that pass as another front for the SWP

        But then marxists and islamic fundamentalists are you sort of people aren’t they Mike.

    • GuyM

      Yes, can you imagine the debate, Ken lambasts the BNP candidate for having extremist views, only to have all the other candidates mention all his friends with extremist views…… best he goes and hides.

  • Amber Star

    Nice 1, Ken. The BNP & its supporters need to be clear: They should not be allowed to hitch a ride on Labour’s coat-tails. We do not want to be associated with this party in any way whatsoever. If the BBC want to stir up controversy by inviting the BNP, that’s their decision. But Labour doesn’t have to join in.

  • Stoprisk

    Boris is close to Bin Ladenism as the ConDems actually support Bahraini repression and Saudis arming Al Qaeda rebels with British weapons. I think quite clearly: I choose Ken !
    Bin Laden Boris and Al Qaeda Cameron present a very serious RISK.

    • treborc1

      Ken yes, but the Idea that Boris is some how involved with the factions involved with Bin Laden.

      New labours back handers bribes to Saudi Arabia the weapons we have sold them the deals over arms, yes the Tories will be doing the same, but hell all parties are the same

    • GuyM

      You seem to be out past lock up time…. the men in white coats will be looking for you, best give yourself up.

  • The BNP are an extremist organisation for sure but then so is Galloway’s barmy collection of Islamists and Trotskyists in Respect (Mike Homfray, you would love them). Would Livingstone have refused to share a platform with them? I somehow doubt it.

    I have no time for Nick Griffin et al – not least because if the BNP had its way some members of my immediate family would no doubt be encouraged to move to lands they’ve never been to nor know anything about. But if the BNP has electoral support then as long as they act accordingly they have the right to be heard. Democracy is meaningless if we only allow opinions we find acceptable to be heard.

  • Coadyiamf

    a sheep in wolves clothing


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